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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Sleepwalkas
Monday, May 04, 2009

Anyone who has been to an underground Hip-Hop show in New York City in the past handful of years has, at some point in time, met the Sleepwalkas duo of Ciph Diggy and K.Gaines (pictured L to R). As two of Brooklyn’s finest, Ciph and Gaines have made a name for themselves both with their music and their tireless work ethic. Ciph explains the group’s ideology, saying “we embody that free thinking, no gimmic, Hip-Hop that you can relate to.” This week I caught up with both him and Gaines to find out more about their music, their nonstop networking, the all important “Five C’s” that make up their next album, and how dentures are a part of one of their ultimate goals.

Adam Bernard: As Sleepwalkas you are a dynamic duo, but what do you feel makes each one of you unique individually. How can people tell a Ciph verse from a Gaines verse?
K.Gaines: I think what makes us unique is that we approach the song differently from your average run of the mill emcees. I try to let the beat take me where it wants to go and not limit myself, or the people that are listening, to what we are saying. Ciph brings this energy that as soon as you hear it you know that it's gonna get inside of you mentally and physically.
Ciph Diggy: And lyrically my verses are a blend of nostalgia, flow and beat riding while Gaines’ verses are a blend of struggle, achievement and the pursuit of happiness.

Adam Bernard: Why do you feel you work so well together?
Ciph Diggy: We bring different aspects of our true experiences. We’ve been rockin for a while now and it’s to the point where we can rhyme about the same subject or topic and still bring our own individual views.
K.Gaines: We also have this natural kinetic energy that everyone gravitates towards and that vibe is what we bring to the stage, studio, party... wherever.

Adam Bernard: You are mainstays in New York City's underground Hip-Hop scene. I see you at almost every show I attend. What makes you want to keep going out there? Is it solely for networking, or are there other reasons?
Ciph Diggy: It's the life of a struggling artist. If you want to make an impact you have to grind and that includes networking and just being seen a lot because if you are seen a lot you will be heard a lot.
K.Gaines: I totally agree. "Seldom heard seldom seen, don’t expect to get the green." We are out there because we want it more than the next guy that’s sitting at home saying {sour voice} "why and how does Sleepwalkas get all of those shows? How come they get so much love and respect?" It's because we grind hard and you don't, nuff said!!! By the way, that’s a title for one of our songs. {laughs} Besides no one is going to give you success, you have to go out and earn it.

Adam Bernard: As people who see a lot, what do you feel are some of the plusses and minuses to NYC's Hip-Hop scene right now?
Ciph Diggy: The plus side of the NY Hip-Hop scene is 55% love, 30 % quality, and 65% grind… that’s 150% and that’s what a lot of artists in our circle bring. It keeps us focused. The minuses are a lot of wack artists believe they deserve admiration and respect when they don’t want to work for it.
K.Gaines: Originality is the biggest plus that I see in the Hip-Hop scene. There is a circuit that’s bubbling in NY with a bunch of new and innovative approaches to the Hip-Hop art form. The biggest minus is that nine times out of ten, you can throw a rock down any street and it will hit a "rapper" and because of that it's getting harder and harder for good music to find its way to the surface. That's why we grind so hard, to distinguish ourselves from the cookie cutter cornballs.

Adam Bernard: Tell me about how you’re distinguishing yourselves next. What projects do you have coming up in the near future?
Ciph Diggy: We are working on the second installment and this is a big transition for us because now we are one emcee less from the first album, Insomnia (Vexed Lo, the original third member of the group, departed to handle some non rap related things). While we’re working on the new album we’re also going to give the people a collabo mixtape.
K.Gaines: Yes, we are currently working on a mixtape we hope to have ready by late spring / early summer named Cookie Cutter Cornballs Can't Cut It on This CD! Cookie Cutter Cornballs Can't Cut It are the five C’s. It's basically a mix-CD with collaborations featuring a lot of the artists that we have come to admire along this journey to Hip-Hop infamy.

Adam Bernard: Finally, when all is said and done, what do you hope the Sleepwalkas contribution to Hip-Hop will be?
Ciph Diggy: We are just here to help usher in that Hip-Hop music you love, making it cool to be a regular person and not that made up facade that most emcees project; you know, the drug dealer / hitman that parties and spends excessive amounts on money on champagne. We are just here to wake you up!
K.Gaines: I just want to make music with no limits. I don't want to underestimate the listeners and I don't want to be underestimated. Let me be me and you won't regret it. I want Sleepwalkas to go down in this beautiful history of Hip-Hop as some of the best that ever did it! I want a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame statue in X amount of years. I want you to listen to us when you have a cane and dentures and have you still try to get up and boogie like "Sleepwalkas is the illest!"

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/sleepwalkas
Blog: sleepwalkas.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/sleepwalkas

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:44 AM  
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